New information revealed in an FOI request has shown that Tory MP for Stirling has failed to meet with key UK government ministers about Brexit since June last year – leaving Stirling voiceless at Westminster as we head closer to the looming disaster of Brexit.
Stirling SNP Councillor Susan McGill has raised concerns regarding a recent question put to the Home Office by Stirling Tory MP Stephen Kerr on the number of Christians granted refuge in the UK from war-torn Syria and Iraq.
By Steven Paterson former Stirling MP
In a written statement issued by the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley this week, the first instalment of the billion pound bung of our money to be allocated to Northern Ireland was dished out.
No less than £410 million has been paid from UK Treasury coffers, explicitly part of the confidence and supply arrangement that ensures that the Tory Government remains afloat thanks to paying off the DUP. Although ostensibly this is direct rule from Westminster over devolved issues in Northern Ireland, in reality, the DUP is in complete control of this process thanks to the present arithmetic in the House of Commons.
Meanwhile, the UK Government is seeking to assume direct rule over one of the other devolved legislatures: Holyrood. Although altogether different in scale, at least for the moment, the attack on Scotland’s devolved parliament resulting from the Brexit vote could have far-reaching and unwelcome implications for the future. In short, if this power grab is allowed to proceed and a precedent is set, this could be merely the thin end of the wedge leading to the aggressive reassertion of London supremacy over hitherto devolved competences.
This is why the Scottish Government is entirely correct to fight this Westminster power grab all the way. Since 1999, the principle of consent has been adhered to when it comes to Westminster legislating on devolved areas and agreement with the Scottish Parliament has been required whenever legislation is being considered at Westminster that has crossed into a devolved area.
SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black called out the Prime Minister for constantly defending the broken Universal Credit system – citing calls from Stirling Tory Councillors for Stirling Council to commit £600 million over the next three years to mitigate against the impact it is having on vulnerable people.
by Steven Paterson, former MP for Stirling
The frenzied speculation about how long Prime Minister Theresa May‘s ghostly apparition will haunt 10 Downing Street reached new heights this week, as Tory MPs engaged in increasingly bitter internecine warfare over the succession.
Mrs May herself must have been grateful to be jetting off to China in pursuit of trade deals, leaving the squabbling factions to tear one another apart in her absence instead of right in front of her. She cuts a lonely figure these days, convincing nobody she has any authority left or is in any realistic sense in charge.
Instead, we have governmental paralysis, despite vital Brexit negotiations restarting this week on which the future prosperity and trading status of the country depends. The hard-Brexit brigade, amongst whose esteemed members are such noted bigwigs as Boris Johnston, Michael Gove and the hyperactive Jacob Rees-Mogg, seem to spend more of their time slagging off members of the more pragmatic majority of the parliamentary Tory party, who were against Brexit to begin with but now feel compelled to follow through with it following the EU referendum. The hard-Brexit brigade is winning though, and no mistake.
The Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle was supposed to be a re-launch of her flagging premiership but instead served as a New Year reminder that what serves as a Government at present is a zombie administration somehow continuing to exist despite having expired some time ago.
The omens were not good for the Prime Minister when an overeager staffer at Number 10 incorrectly broadcast to the world via Twitter that Transport Secretary had been moved to Tory Party Chairman. The tweet was quickly deleted, but not before it had been widely promoted by the media.
After this early gaff, the live coverage of Theresa May attempting to exert her authority over her government quickly went from boring to utter tedium, as it became clear that there was precious little shuffling of ministerial posts going on. To nobody’s surprise, blunderbuss Boris couldn’t be moved for fear that on the backbenches, he would act as a magnet for the malcontents and quickly lead a challenge that would finally put the current Prime Minister out of her misery. It says it all about the wretched state of Westminster politics that this awful prospect is taken seriously by anyone, but it is.
And Boris’s fellow big beasts were also too powerful to be confronted. Hour after hour went by with the only updates from number ten confirming which Minister’s weren’t being shuffled about or out of the Government. Number 10’s Twitter account broke exclusive news with mundane regularity: “Philip Hammond to remain Chancellor of the Exchequer” – shock. “Amber Rudd to remain as Home Secretary” – stunning.
By former Stirling MP, Steven Paterson
The metaphor “death by a thousand cuts” probably has its origin in the tortuous and brutal form of execution known as Ling Chi, which was used in medieval China for heinous crimes such as treason.
The phrase which is now commonplace in English means a slow, painful, incremental and inevitable demise. Such a certain death can hardly be more accurately applied than to the slow collapse of the present UK Tory Government.
We have had Tory Governments imposed on us here in Scotland for the majority of my lifetime, and democracy for Scotland is at the heart of my politics. In the most basic of terms, Scotland should always get the government Scotland votes for.
Unfortunately, the cherished Union means that in governance terms, “we get what we’re telt”. Or to put it more bluntly, “shut up, Scotland, and eat your cereal”. However, even comparing the present incarnation of the Tory regime with its predecessors, Theresa May’s class of 2017 is as weak as dishwater to a degree unprecedented.
Whilst the SNP Government here in Scotland is working to deliver fair pay to the public sector on limited resources, our local Tory Member of Parliament is using his time in the Commons to block fair pay for nurses.
“Budget passed, crisis over, media grumpy, Tories furious, Labour irrelevant”…. yeah that will do!
Stirling MP Steven Paterson has voted against the UK Government’s Bill to trigger Article 50 – the formal process for leaving the European Union – and has slammed the Tory Government for its refusal to take the Scottish electorate seriously and Labour for supporting it.